The loss of my daughter.(Part 1)

Adalynn Neriah Sutliff_22

Grief

Grief can hit you like an unexpected car crash. It is sudden, it is unexpected, it is painful. At least for me that is exactly what it was… Growing up I have experienced loss through the lens of another persons pain, but never my own. I have heard people talk about grief, and how it is like a roller coaster, or even how grief is like an ocean of waves coming and going. I never understood grief, and what it felt like until I lost my daughter, Adalynn. It has been five months since my daughter went to be with Jesus in Heaven, and although my faith is what gives me hope that I will see her again one day, it does not take away the pain. My hope doesn’t take away the fact that I wish she were here in my arms. That I wish I could go through the experience of having a newborn with my husband. It doesn’t take away all the hopes and dreams I had for this baby, and for our family as we envisioned moving forward with our lives as a family of four.

If you don’t know me, I have a five-year-old boy named Kayden, and he has been the light of my life. I had him when I was 19, and I was a single mom for two years until my husband, Taylor came along, and decided he wanted me and my little man in his life forever. Taylor has always loved our son like he was his own, and because of that Kayden doesn’t know any different. Taylor is Kayden’s dad, and he will always be that to him. But the fact is that Kayden isn’t Taylors biological child, and losing our first biological baby together was extremely hard for us to understand. We don’t understand why God would choose me for nine months to carry our precious Adalynn only to take her away from us immediately. Some days I sit here and try to make sense of it all, but the truth is I don’t think it will ever make sense to me.

Taylor and I had prayed for eight months about having a baby before getting pregnant with Adalynn. When we felt like the time was right, we started trying, and to our surprise we got pregnant right away. Although we believed we would have a boy we loved the thought of having a girl. I honestly didn’t have much of a desire to have a girl until I got pregnant the second time around. I always thought to myself that I would be a boy mom, and I was okay with that, but I guess the desire of having a girl overwhelmed me when I got pregnant with Adalynn. The timing also felt right for Kayden to become a big brother. We were excited, and it all seemed perfect, and that is why it is still hard for me to wrap my head around her death. When I question why we lost our baby girl it honestly makes me angry, and in those moments of anger I have to pull myself together, and rest in the hope that we will see her again one day. Every day I make the decision to trust that although we may not understand why this happened, God does. Despite the unbearable pain we go through dealing with loss, I have some type of comprehension that there must be a higher purpose to this confusing and dreadful pain that everyone will turn to dust one day.

May 19th 2019 was the day we lost our baby girl.

It had been a few weeks that I was dealing with some pre-labor symptoms, and as I went into my weekly checkups my midwives started to become concern that Adalynn wasn’t growing near the end of my pregnancy. One of my midwifes recommend I go get a bio-physical done to make sure everything was okay(if you don’t know what a bio-physical is it’s just an extensive ultrasound that checks baby’s heartbeat, breathing patterns, size, position, and placenta to make sure the placenta is doing its job in giving baby nutrients). I remember the day they told me they were a bit concerned. I remember it like it was yesterday. I started to cry, and I told my midwives I just wanted Adalynn to be okay. I told them I was afraid that once she was born she was not going to be okay. It’s crazy to me now to look back on that moment. Its almost as if God was preparing me for what was about to come…

A couple days later I drove all the way up to Temecula to get the bio-physical done, and I remember the lady who performed my ultrasound kept asking me if I was feeling a ton of pressure low down in my uterus. She told me she could tell that the baby was running out of room, and that she would probably make her entrance soon. This made me excited, but also nervous. Before I could get any results to my ultrasound she had to send all the information over to my midwives for them to go over it before speaking with me. I got the call a few days later from my midwife and she said everything seemed fine, and that Adalynn may just be a small baby. I felt relieved. I went in a few days later on May 14th, and they performed an old-fashioned stress test, and with reassurance they told me everything looked great. They asked me if I wanted to get a membrane sweep(natural way of induction)because if she was slowing down in growth it was probably best that she come sooner so I could start breastfeeding her, and she could get nutrients from outside my womb, so I said yes and we did the membrane sweep and within a few days I started feeling contractions. It wasn’t until 5 days later on May 19th that I had gone into active labor. Around 1:30am I started to feel really intense contractions, and I took out my phone and immediately started timing them, but it wasn’t consistent enough. 1:30am was the last time I believe I had ever felt Adalynn move. I tried to get some sleep, and I kept waking up with more contractions, so I got in the shower around 3:30am and used what I had learned in my birthing class, and breathed through my contractions. As I swayed in the shower I rubbed my belly, and I told Adalynn “we are going to get through this together”, and as I rubbed my belly and talked to her there was no response. I felt no tiny punches or kicks. I felt nothing. I started to feel uneasy, so I pushed on my stomach to see if I could get a response from her, but all I could feel was her body moving side to side as I pushed her around.

Around 4am I woke my husband up to come downstairs with me, and I sat on an exercise ball as he timed my contractions, and he helped me get through the process. I had expressed my concerns to him about not feeling Adalynn move, and he reassured me that our midwives told us babies tend to slow down during labor. Although I had a feeling inside of me that there was something wrong with her, I didn’t want to believe it, and I held onto the reassurance that my husband gave me. Close to 5am we called my midwife to tell her my contractions were about 3-4 minutes apart, and she said it was time to head to the birth center. My husband packed up our things, and my parents headed over to our house to be with our son so we could go have our baby. As we walked down our stairs I bent over with another contraction and became extremely emotional knowing our little girl was about to be here, and nervous for a natural birth.

The birth center we chose to deliver at was all the way in Fallbrook, so it was about a 35 minute drive, and the entire drive up it was pouring rain. We got to the birth center and our midwives were waiting for us, and as my midwife checked me and got the Doppler out to check on our little girl, she searched for about 10 minutes, and I heard nothing. I knew something was wrong, but I was trying to focus on getting through each contraction. With a blank stare, and red in her face she stood up and looked at us, and said “I can’t find a heartbeat”. I didn’t know what to say, or what to do. I just remember looking at Taylor and he was so confused about what was going on because he was in the middle of turning on worship music, and when she said it again, I could see the concern in his face. I looked up at him and held his hand and told him I was scared. I don’t think it actually hit me that Adalynn didn’t have a heartbeat until I saw her hours later. I was already exerting so much energy through each contraction I don’t think I could have given any more energy emotionally or physically to be sad, and I believe I was a little in shock, and partially in denial. My midwife told us she was going to call the paramedics, but also have one of the other midwives check to see if she could find the heartbeat just in case. I had one midwife checking me to see how dilated I was, while the other was asking me to turn over to check for a heartbeat, all while I was trying to breathe through each contraction holding Taylors hand, and praying that Adalynn was still alive.

The second midwife confirmed she couldn’t find a heartbeat, so the paramedics came, and before getting on the stretcher I went to use the bathroom, and another contraction started to arise, and I pulled Taylor into the bathroom with me and had him hold me on the toilet while I cried, and I kept telling him how scared I was. He told me he was scared as well. He walked me out to the stretcher, and the firemen put me in the ambulance. I thought to myself, this is what happens in movies that I spend my time watching and crying over… How could this be happening to someone like me? Sometimes we think we are invincible to what seems so heavy around us, but what I learned that day is we are most definitely not. I remember feeling fear rush over me like a giant wave, and I wanted Taylor to be with me every second of the way in the ambulance, but they had to put him up front so my midwife could be with me. Thankfully my sweet midwife held my hand the entire drive to Palomar hospital. The drive to the hospital was when I started to feel my contractions intensify. There was no room for me to labor the way I wanted to, or needed to because I was held down on a stretcher. The drive was terrible, and I remember looking out the window and seeing the rain fall, and praying to God that there could still be another reason as to why my midwives couldn’t find her heartbeat. I still had hope that once we got to the hospital, she was going to be okay… Without hope we have nothing, and I needed something to hold onto to get me through this labor. Typically when you go through labor and birth you have the joy of seeing your baby take their first breath, seeing their precious face, holding them, and hearing them cry for the first time to look forward to, but I had nothing to look forward to, so I needed hope.

I needed God to get me through the physical and emotional pain I was enduring.

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